Phil Galiano spent this season working as a defensive consultant for Penn State. He watched practice, spent time in game-planning meetings for the defense and special teams and provided scouting reports for the coaching staff on Sundays.
After gaining familiarity with the Nittany Lions throughout the year, he was hired as the team’s special teams coordinator to replace Charles Huff, who is now part of former offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s staff at Mississippi State.
“That’s a huge deal; I kind of have an idea of who our personnel is,” Galiano said Friday, during his first public remarks since his hiring. “I’ve seen us and been able to watch us all season long. I know what Coach (James) Franklin’s philosophies are, how he wants to handle things. And it just allows me to be caught up to speed and not playing catch-up from that standpoint, and I can hit the ground running faster than if it was at a different place or someone outside coming in.”
Galiano has had three stints at Rutgers and spent two seasons as an assistant special teams coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his coaching career. He was also the defensive coordinator at FIU.
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“He’s got tremendous experience,” Franklin said. “He’s really passionate, and he’s a really sharp guy.”
The Pennsylvania native played in college at Shippensburg under Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer. Now, Galiano will work alongside his former coach — he will serve as the Nittany Lions’ assistant defensive line coach in addition to leading the special teams.
“With the special teams, you got to coach the players so that they want to play for you,” Galiano said. “They got to want to play hard, they got to want to play fast. You got to make it fun for ’em.
“And I think that that culture has been created here, and I look forward to just being able to keep making that better.”
Galiano said he takes pride in “being a great teacher” as a coach. And his players already know what to expect.
“If you look at Coach Huff, he was a real high-energy guy,” Penn State punter Blake Gillikin said. “I think Galiano has that in him; he brings a lot of energy to the table but he’s also really technical. He’s going to help us out with our techniques and our footwork and everything like that.”